Women entrepreneurs have been the backbone of India's business ecosystem, and their increasing presence has led to significant economic and business growth in the country. The women-owned startups and established businesses are playing a vital role in providing employment opportunities and inspiring the next generation of women entrepreneurs.
The government of India, with its Startup India initiative, has also played a leading role in promoting the sustainable development of women entrepreneurs. Several other schemes and initiatives have been launched by the government that promotes their presence in the market- Women Entrepreneurship Platform, Mudra Loan for Women, and Cent Kalyani Scheme, among others.
On Women's Entrepreneurship Day 2022, let's meet and hear from women leaders on how we can promote women's entrepreneurship in India and create a progressive ecosystem. Here's what women entrepreneurs from across the country have to say about 'How can we encourage and bring more women entrepreneurs by creating a suitable ecosystem in India'.
"We, as Indian entrepreneurs, are currently living in incredibly exciting times. Unlike the generations before us, we are fortunate to say that our country recognizes startups as seeds that will enhance the future landscape of the Indian Economy. While the Indian government has introduced a lot of programs that encourage and empower Indian Women through their entrepreneurial journey (WEP run by NitiAayog), the Pradhan Mantri Yojana amongst many others, the awareness about them is still very little. I believe initiating more such programs and raising awareness about them to create an ecosystem is the need of the hour."
Founder and Creative Head at HIIH
"Working in-depth with the rural population, I have witnessed that whenever it comes to anything important like financial choices, healthcare, it's always the women who step up and take the decisions on it. Women are actually problem solvers. Being a solo woman founder with over 10 years of experience working with thousands of rural women entrepreneurs that I call Sahelis, I have witnessed how women are ready to make a change. They're enthusiastic, innovative and ready to come up with sustainable solutions."
Founder and CEO, Frontier Markets
"For Women entrepreneurs to really do their best, they should feel unchained by the traditional demands of society. Every woman should be given space and opportunities to embark on their purpose without being shackled in the so-called "duties" that every woman must perform. That is what empowers an aspiring female entrepreneur. Like Men, they should also be given a chance to make their career their first priority and indulge it with as much zeal as they do. For this to happen, society would need to change at the root level, where unconventional moves should not be treated as rebellion but rather as much-needed growth."
CEO & Founder of iThrive
"There's no dearth of entrepreneurial women - it's about creating an ecosystem that helps them flourish and scale. One, having women-specific groups as safe spaces to share knowledge and resources. Two, a more active push within VCs, funders, SME loan providers etc to support women-run businesses. Three, awareness building on the unique challenges for women entrepreneurs when working amidst gender bias and patriarchy."
Founder, Civic Studios
"It's education that forms the core of an entrepreneur's skills. Providing more learning opportunities to women and awareness for parents should be a primary goal. Greater access to government schemes and funding for schools via NGOs needs to be encouraged. Grooming for an entrepreneurial mindset needs to start from school."
Co-founder & CFO, Ricron Panels Pvt. Ltd.
"In the words of Dr, B.R.Ambedkar, "I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved." Women make up over half of the Indian population (48%) but only 25% participate in economic activity. The role of women in our society has changed drastically in the past few decades for the better but there is still a long way to go. Women entrepreneurs are proving to be undisputed leaders, managing their personal and professional life while climbing the ladder of success. This has motivated several women to enter the entrepreneurial world and also pushed society to help uplift them."
Co-Founder & Head Dietitian, Diet Insight
"Women tend to have an innate talent to multi-task, adapt and acquire skills like never before. Female energy and mindset are aligned to build startups and their empathy makes them great leaders. To truly tap their potential, it is important to support women leaders with an adequate ecosystem and policy that encourages their business and participation. Government initiatives and funds play a crucial role in bridging the bias gap and driving women entrepreneurship."
Founder & CEO, Lemme Be
"Treat them as equals! that's the best way to encourage women's entrepreneurship in India or anywhere in the world. Over a period the funds need to be guided possibly by their LPs and/ or regulators to adopt a positive affirmation policy - all things being equal they will choose a women entrepreneur preferably. This would mainstream the approach of encouraging women entrepreneurs."
Founder of ARTH
"Invest in women-led businesses. Ensure that the VC and incubations circles seek out women-led businesses and products so that there's increased awareness. With increased representation and more women entrepreneurs in all industries we can create an ecosystem that helps more and more women realise their entrepreneurship dreams."
Founder & CEO, The Woman's Company
"India, the land of Entrepreneurs, must focus more on merit-based selection than gender-based. This is possible when every work place follows transparent means and offers a healthy communicative environment for all irrespective of gender. That is empowerment in the real sense where you don't have to worry about any prejudices and you're free to showcase your talent. That is the most efficient way of promoting a healthy work environment in general."
Founder & CEO, Juvena Herbals
"India is at the cusp of becoming an entrepreneurship powerhouse. With such a large youth population, we need to generate employment at a much faster pace than the global economies and we can not afford to disregard our women population from this growth story. I personally feel that more and more opportunities are to be provided to our women by introducing courses and technical skills to be entrepreneurs. The government is doing a lot to promote them by providing financial support through various loan schemes as well. The need of the hour is to focus on training and skills, followed by even easy finance and mentorship to enable more and more women to opt for entrepreneurship."
Director, Vedic Cosmeceuticals Pvt. Ltd.
"Today's women have broken the glass ceiling and have brought fresh ideas into the business landscape of India. These innovations and ideas are actively reshaping the design and creative industries. I've never encountered any direct difficulties myself as a result of being a female Interior Designer, but I'm aware of the challenges. The majority of businesses are dominated by men, thus, making it difficult for women to get introductions and connections into the elite business networks."
Founder of Design Konstruct
Also Read: Encouraging Participation! Here're Government Schemes & Initiatives To Promote Women Entrepreneurs In India